First Walk is on Us!

✓ GPS tracked walks
✓ Activity reports
✓ On-demand walkers
Book FREE Walk

Jump to Section

What is Eyes Watering?

Your dog will consistently produce tears in her eye, which will allow the eye’s surface to remain moist and lubricated, and clear of irritants and allergens. Your dog can exhibit watery eyes as a result of more tearing than is usual for her. This can be due to the following:

  • Irritation of the eye or eyes
  • Cold or infection of your dog’s ears, nose and/or throat
  • Allergies

Excessive tear production is also known as epiphora. Upon noticing that your dog is having more watery eyes than is typical for her, you will want to consider whether she is displaying other symptoms as well as for how long the excessive tearing has been occurring. Your veterinarian can help you determine the cause of your dog’s condition and how to best resolve it.

Book First Walk Free!

Why Eyes Watering Occurs in Dogs

Your dog may be having watery eyes due to:

Irritation of the Eye or Eyes

Irritation in your dog’s eye or eye can be due to infectious agents (like bacteria, viruses or fungus), parasites and foreign particles. Depending on their breed, a dog can have a significant amount of hair in her face and hair growing into the eye can lead to irritation. Eyelashes can also cause irritation when they grow at an atypical angle. Trauma can lead to irritation in your dog’s eye, resulting in watery eyes. 

When the irritation occurs your dog will produce more tears than is typical, which will result in your dog having eyes that are more watery than usual. Your dog can experience a condition that is chronic, like a chronic viral infection, or may have anatomical deformities of her eye; for example, folds in her skin can become infected from being constantly wet. Either of these can lead to irritation and pain on the surface of her eye. A deeper infection and a tumor can result in pressure, pain and ultimately excessive tear production. 

Cold or Infection of your Dog’s Ears, Nose and/or Throat

A minor cold or ear, nose and throat infection can lead to excess tears as well as other respiratory system symptoms and problems with her ear duct. In the case of infections, your dog may show other symptoms to include redness of the eyes, significant irritation, pain, blinking more than usual and rubbing and scratching at her eyes. Eye discharges may be present in infections that are advanced.


A pet who has allergies can have symptoms like itchy skin, hair loss, skin infection, and watery eyes. Your veterinarian may suggest an antihistamine to calm the symptoms if they are severe. When allergies strike, the immune system may produce histamines as a way of responding to the allergen.

What to do if your Dog is Eyes Watering

Watery eyes can signify a serious problem or be due to a minor issue. Should you notice that your dog’s eyes have been more watery than usual, you will want to have your dog examined by your veterinarian. You will likely be asked how long you have observed your dog having watery eyes as well as whether she has recently experienced an illness or trauma to her eye. Should your dog seem to be experiencing pain, your veterinarian may choose to apply an anesthetic to her eye prior to beginning her examination. 

Depending on what your veterinarian first observes, he may consider applying a fluorescein stain in your dog’s eye; this won’t hurt and will allow him to see if there are any scratches or foreign items present, as well as determine the tear drainage. Your dog’s eyes will be examined for corneal damage, to look at her tear production, and evaluate the function of the nasolacrimal duct. Radiographs may be helpful to see if there are any obstructions present. Your veterinarian may recommend you take your dog to an ophthalmologist for additional evaluation.

The treatment that is recommended by your veterinarian will depend upon what is causing your dog to have watery eyes. Even in cases where the diagnosed condition is not an infection, a secondary infection is often present as a result of your dog’s constant rubbing and scratching of her eyes. As a result, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications are often recommended. 

Your veterinarian will work with you to keep your dog from rubbing or scratching her eye and her face and you will be encouraged to keep the surface of your dog’s eye clean and dry while treatment is underway.

Prevention of Eyes Watering

It is helpful to feed your dog a diet that meets all of her nutritional requirements, as this will boost her immune system and allow her to be better able to fight off infections. Regular exercise is also important for your dog’s overall health.

In particularly windy or dusty conditions, keeping your dog inside can help her avoid getting foreign debris trapped in her eye. 

An annual wellness check can pinpoint changes in the eye and may reveal an irritation to the eye that you were not aware of. Additionally, illnesses that can affect the eye may be discovered through routine blood work or physical examination.

Cost of Eyes Watering

The cost of your dog having watery eyes will be dependent upon the condition that is causing it to occur. The average cost of treatment for watery eyes is $450; treatment for inflammation due to illness such as Lyme disease or a condition like the formation of cataracts can cost around $300. An eye injury resulting in lacerations may have an expense of $600.